This new breed of Lower East Sider comes to enjoy a sense of urban authenticity in Manhattan. Of course, it's not authentic at all, but a kind of faux authenticity, pretend authenticity: the EV feels like it's hip, it imagines itself to be hip, it has lots of youth who style themselves as hip, but in reality, they are just children of wealth seeking $700 a month more hipness and urban pretend-authenticity than they would get in Queens. It's that measured thrill (the oxymoron is intended) they seek -- just enough for them to congratulate themselves for not living in a forgettable neighborhood like Kips Bay, but not too much to lose sleep over the noise of a late-night drum circle.
The mere suggestion of being arrested for a principle of justice arouses such unconscious fear that they respond with political condescension and smug personal disdain. Note how they fail to understand the OWS movement itself: they attribute to it whatever they disagree with, so that, conveniently, they can dismiss it, don't have to be bothered with it and don't have to confront its potential. It is, if you forgive another oxymoron, aggressive apathy. Call it proactive apathy, to use one of the redundant and useless epithets of their generation.
They read Grieve because reading some local foodie restaurant blog would show themselves in their mirror as exactly themselves, mere gentrifiers -- but Grieve is cool, Grieve is hip, Grieve is an insider, so they can feel insiders without ever getting inside anything in this place. That's who reads Grieve today. Bob Arihood died just in time. He'd have seen it as every good deed's punishment. Grieve has, no fault of his own, become the entertainment for the gawkers of authenticity.
Grieve's readers consider themselves East Village old-timers if they've lived here for six years, long since gentrification settled in. They have no conception of the meaning of this once unique place, not a clue. It is beyond their capacity to imagine, let alone understand. They have lived all their lives with property values and social control. They have no sense of the freedom that follows property abandonment and its vacation of all ownership control, often described as anarchy. They are the children of entitlement. The great difference between the trustfund babies of the EV and the overeducated campers in Liberty Plaza is that the latter are unemployed and drowning in student-loan debt, while the former enjoy mixology at Death & Co.
The campers have been successful at keeping momentum and visibility by holding new events each day or so. The occupation of TSP sounds like a useful part of that program. I don't see it as unduly disruptive. If OWS has the potential to shift the balance of politics in this country, issues of local noise, garbage and crowding hardly seem worth mentioning in the broad narrative arc of history. Maybe we have become too accustomed to complaining about bars. But, seriously, barflies are not making history; they're just making noise. I mean, here is an opportunity to change the voice and profile of our polity, and the news media and the local residents are worried about noise? What happened to these poor rich people's values? What kind of sorry excuse are they for humanity? Are they so comfortable and jaded that they can't care about anything but their own comfort? Is this neighborhood truly no more to them than the latest ice cream parlor tasting? Is this what the LES has come to?
OWS has stepped into the muddy stream of American democracy, pronounced it a river of shit, which it is, and have called for a dam: enough. They have pointed to the naked emperor -- the wide disparity in both our politics and economy. They have as yet no program, no solution except the goal of obtaining a more equitable distribution of democratic power. They are not exculpating Obama by targeting Wall Street. They are not supporting any party. Unlike the Tea Party which began as an knee-jerk revolt against the color of the president, finding its libertarian justification after the fact to legitimize its acid racism, OWS started with principles. You can tell the difference by their resistance to any political party, while the Tea Party jumped quickly into Republican habit. Theirs was never anything but partisanship. OWS is, as many have suggested, something new. It's not a demonstration; it's not a third party. It's a social movement focused on the failure of American democracy itself.
I have no expectations, nor any predictions for its success, but I am not so ironic as to view every honest effort as naive, silly, childish or risible. Irony is the privilege of the abstract, the distant, the uninvolved. It suits the comfortable, the secure, those who can afford to be indifferent. If we all regarded our political process with irony only, there'd be no place for democracy at all. The OWS process is all about participatory democracy. It is so pure and purged of irony that its principled participation cannot close on its demands. That's one reason why it hasn't gotten involved with any party or against any party, why it hasn't projected any specific solutions. It is a movement discontented with our democracy.
The only campaign poster I've seen at Liberty Plaza is for Ron Paul. Now, several of Grieve's commenters seemed to think that OWS should attack gov't rather than Wall Street. Well, that's Paul's message, and it's there at OWS, along with many other messages. You won't see any Obama posters there, that's for sure. So I think the commenters, as most ugly commenters are, uninformed, biased loudmouths. The content of their comments are of little merit but of revelatory sociological curiosity. Look at who they are, or what they are. I take them very seriously, but not what they think, if they think. It looks to me more like avoidance, complacency and self-congratulations than thought. And it's all so close to the sentiment summed up in Let them eat cake.
Trustfund-baby hispter wannabe
Trustfund-baby hispter wannabe